Nir Zavaro is the Founder, CEO, and Chief of Happiness at Streetwise, an agency specializing in outsourced marketing services. Founded in 2011, the company has worked with hundreds of brands in Israel and abroad. Nir is a speaker and the author of F*ck the Slides. He is also a partner in a few ventures, a mentor in various accelerators, and a lecturer on branding, sales, marketing, and storytelling.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- [03:52] Nir Zavaro talks about the importance of storytelling
- [06:08] How Nir got into storytelling and marketing and the ideation of F*ck the Slides
- [13:46] Common mistakes people make with storytelling
- [18:19] Storytelling techniques for effective communication
- [20:12] Nir talks about Industry 4.0 and his workshops
- [25:27] How to create a three minutes pitch that sells
- [28:31] Customer success stories
- [36:08] The value of living in a peaceful world
- [44:39] Nir shares his thoughts about conflicts and wars as an Israeli entrepreneur
- [53:40] The dangers of hatred and propaganda in media
In this episode…
In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, it’s more important than ever to have a strong brand story. But do you have what it takes to create a great story about your brand?
A good story can help you connect with your audience and differentiate your brand from the competition. However, crafting a compelling story is easier said than done. It requires a deep understanding of your target audience, your brand’s values, and the emotions you want to evoke. Nir Zavaro says hiring an agency specializing in storytelling can make all the difference. They can help you craft a narrative that resonates with your audience, evoke emotion, and inspire actions. Don’t underestimate the power of a great story — it can be the key to unlocking your brand’s full potential.
In this episode of the Inspired Insider Podcast, Dr. Jeremy Weisz sits down with Nir Zavaro, Founder and CEO of Streetwise, to discuss how brands can thrive through storytelling. Nir talks about the importance of storytelling, common mistakes people make with storytelling, storytelling techniques for effective communication, and how to create a three-minute pitch that sells. He also shares his thoughts about conflicts and wars and the dangers of hatred and propaganda in the media.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Nir Zavaro on LinkedIn
- Nir Zavaro
- F*ck the Slides: Creating A Winning Pitch Using Storytelling Techniques by Nir Zavaro
- Spin Dictators: The Changing Face of Tyranny in the 21st Century by Sergei Guriev and Daniel Treisman
- Stop Antisemitism
- “[Top Israel Leader Series] Engineering the Autonomous Revolution with Rabbi Mois Navon of Mobileye” on the Inspired Insider Podcast
- “[Israel Business Series] Getting Inside the Mind of a Hacker with Ido Safruti of PerimeterX” on the Inspired Insider Podcast
- “[Israel Business Series] Finding and Investing in the next Unicorn with OurCrowd Founder, Jonathan Medved” on the Inspired Insider Podcast
- “The sale is a no sale, I’m not pushing, I’m helping.”
- “I only need some nuggets to get the trailer pitch for you to ask for more.”
- “If your brand doesn’t explain the box, I can think outside of the box.”
- “If you have an opinion, keep it to yourself, if you have a fact, you can mention it.”
- “History is a pretty good place to start.”
- “You don’t need to kill millions in order to become a dictator.”
- “We are all the same.”
Sponsor for this episode
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Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90x, Atari, Einstein Bagels, Mattel, Rx Bars, YPO, EO, Lending Tree, Freshdesk, and many more.
The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.
Podcast production has a lot of moving parts and is a big commitment on our end; we only want to work with people who are committed to their business and to cultivating amazing relationships.
Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.
Insider Stories from Top Leaders & Entrepreneurs…
You are listening to Inspired Insider with your host, Dr. Jeremy Weisz.
Jeremy Weisz 0:22
Dr. Jeremy Weisz here, founder of inspiredinsider.com where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders today is no different. I’ve Nir Zavaro you could check them out at nirzavaro.com. He has a book F*ck The Slides. There’s an asterix in there Nir, so for all, so they won’t say that on the cover. But you got what I mean? We’re going to talk about his book talk about his journey. It’s pretty amazing. And Nir before I formally introduce you, I always like to point out other episodes people should check out of the podcast. This is part of the top Israel leader series that I’m doing. And I’ve been doing it for quite a while. We had Mois Navon on of Mobileye, and he talks about Mobileye, their journey to be acquired by Intel for $15.3 billion. But Nir what struck me was that along the way, they were trying to figure out the course to sell the product and sacrifices along the way, and it wasn’t always easy to go back to his family, tell the kids and wife listen, I’m pulling you out of all extracurricular activities, there’s no more eating out. We’re hitting on lean times. Okay, and that’s entrepreneurial journey, it’s ups, its downs, and Nir is gonna talk about some of that. And there’s many more. I had Ido, of PerimeterX on, which is cybersecurity company in Israel, we had John Medved of OurCrowd on, so check those episodes out and more on inspiredinsider.com and this episode is brought to you by Rise25. At Rise25, we help businesses give to connect to their dream 100 relationships. And how do we do that, we actually do that by helping companies launch and run their podcasts are an easy button for a company to launch on their podcast, we do the strategy, the accountability and the full execution. Nir we call ourselves the magic elves that run in the background and make it easy for the hosts in the company. You know this because you actually done a lot of interviews as well. For me, the number one thing in my life is relationships. I’m always looking at ways to give to my best relationships. And I found no better way over the past decade to profile the people and companies I most admire on this planet and share with the world what they’re working on. So if you’ve thought about podcasting, you should you have questions, you can go to rise25.com and Nir, there’s a deeper reason why I do this, really wish my grandfather was a Holocaust survivor. And the reason his legacy lives on is because someone interviewed him and told his story. And so, we talked about the business side, but there is a deep personal reason why and your about helping brands tell their story, which we’ll get to, and there’s a legacy they leave when they do that. So Nir Zavaro is founder, and you can check him out nirzavaro.com He’s founder of Streetwise. He also has the book, F*ck The Slides, and he helps people market through storytelling. They help businesses improve their sales and marketing. His mission he says is quite simple. They help brands sell stuff, but sell stuff so they have a good story. And his journey is pretty amazing. As I mentioned, he’s worked at the American Embassy. He’s open bars. He’s co-founded extreme sports content website. He’s done so much. And near I just want to thank you for being here.
Nir Zavaro 3:52
Thank you, one of our belts, and we opened in 2015. One of my partners Assaf, he would like to grab me and say, I want to introduce you to my friend. She’s amazing. Mary, you’d come to her and he would give the spin that you just gave. And I will tell him, I feel like a hustler. Just tell him my name. I’ll figure the rest out. And every time I hit there’s somebody who’s this weird guy. You mentioned your grandfather and my grandmother passed away a few years ago. She was 106. She was lucid until the end. Two of my novels the first books I’ve written, dedicated to her, but 102 and 106. And she passed away two days after I launched my second novel, and she will tell us stories about the 1930s when they would hide cash from Istanbul and take the train from Istanbul through the Middle East to come to Tel Aviv and bring money so they can buy weapons and armor and stuff to maintain against the Brits in those days, everybody has some sort of a story that’s connected to these people.
Jeremy Weisz 5:07
What did you learn from your grandmother?
Nir Zavaro 5:09
Fearless. I feel a bit now I’m going to travel the world. The book will come out Saturday, and by the time we do this, this will go live, the book will be out, and I’ll be traveling the world. And people asking me, are you afraid to travel if people know that, and so on. And I’m thinking about it. And then I hear her stories. And being fearless, something completely different than something through the social media era to these ideas, that everybody has an opinion and stuff, we forgot. But today, what I’m learning is leadership, as measured today, not in the classroom, not about our revenue. Right. And today, we’re writing stories that people tell us.
Jeremy Weisz 6:01
Talk about the book a little bit and why you wrote it.
Nir Zavaro 6:08
Yeah, I’m have them a very interesting journey. I think when I started, when I was in the fourth grade, my teacher said, That is nice. He talks too much that the show can tell a good story. And my dad always said, I hope you manage to make money out of this by speaking, and I would sit for years in coffee shops, and I love telling stories, and I was a party promoter when I was 13, 14, 15. And this was my life telling stories. And I loved meeting people. I love hearing their stories, and you go to the army, you go traveling, you meet more people from around the world. And I fell in love with this idea. And I think almost everything I’ve done, including meeting people and telling good stories. And I don’t know if you know this, when I came back to Israel went to study communications and marketing. I sold snowboards in the desert. And sales is all about the story we have, and selling a snowboard, it has nothing to do with the actual act of snowboarding. When a shop in Tel Aviv, it’s 40 degrees, everybody’s wearing flip-flops. But it was the story about how it will feel on the mound, selling that feeling. And from there, I want to do a lot of different things. And we open the website for extreme sports. And I will write about sports cars and Formula One on the news, because always about the story. And then I’ve done quite a lot of things all had some sort of storytelling type of marketing and branding to them. In 2010, I did the mistake I always tell people not to do. So there’s two things you need to avoid in life to have a happy life. Or two important, never write a book and never open a bar. So this is my third book, I’m starting to work on my fourth next month. And I’ve had five or six bars that I’ve been a partner in. When we opened the bar was amazing. We had celebrities coming in, everything was amazing. And then suddenly, there was no one. And by the time we finished that bar, I lost everything I had, I had to leave my job. And I would sneak up on friends couches. But if he asked me how I was, I would say I’m completely broken. What an amazing time it is. Because when I was in the army, I read this novel. And I said one day when I’ll have nothing to do, I just want to write the book. So penniless, no place, no obligations. I said, yeah, why not? I’ll start writing the book about the nightlife of Tel Aviv, the city, and the clubs and the people and the stories I’ve collected over the years. And the same time I said, I think I need to also think about work. And I said, let’s figure out what’s the best thing for me. And I made the list. And the list said no inventory, no rent, no employees, and you can do it from any place on the planet. Guess what this is consulting. And I started to help businesses tell a better story and to market in food and beverage retail where I was very good at. And slowly, year after year, I learned that the problem was not necessarily only the story, but the story didn’t match the product. So you can tell them that you have the best restaurant. The food sucks. Guess what. It doesn’t work. At the end you will lose. So I started to fix I did about 70 businesses and food and beverage and retail a few years I started to hire an employee. And I think I had the domain Streetwise since 2006. I used it for different things. Every time we had a side hustle or a project and use streetwise.co.il and then I said okay, so I have that domain. It’s been there for years. It’s probably got good ranking, I use that. And a good friend of mine invited me to open a club. And I said, never again, I’m not going to do it. And he said, it’s going to be the most successful club in Tel Aviv. I said, I trust you, me, I’m out. And they opened the most successful club. And every time I would go there, I’m bringing my friends and you’d say, why’d you join I said, I have no form, I’m happy. I have a different journey that I need to go on. And the year passes, he invites me to lunch was sitting in a very famous meat restaurant. And he said, how do you like this place and said, I love it. See, this is a place I would open a bar. We said, welcome. Mazel Tov, we’re going to open a bar here, we just took the place off. And we opened in January of 2013, a place called Taylor Me, it was unbelievable. 700 people every night, celebrities, people from all over the world, I met actors and actresses from the US. And it was amazing. And it was a reminder that it can be done differently. I had to fail, epic fail in a bar. Now we can do it differently. And at the same time, I even used the money instead of paying debt and used the money to build posters platform for restaurants. And I ended up selling that, but I never got the debt covered. I always had a different way. And Streetwise started to grow. And I launched my second book, which was, again, a novel. And I started to work with startups. And I noticed that it was very interesting, because most of them, do the same process have the same outcome. And guess what, most of them are very boring, not inspiring, not interesting. But if they will explain what they actually do you love it. But from a marketing standpoint, to the storytelling standpoint, it didn’t fit. So I started to focus on working with startups on fixing not just their marketing. But what do they actually how they do it? And how could they convey a good message. And it didn’t take long, we started to see some results. And I realized that I am doing the same process. In my mind, I’m running the same process. And I thought, as someone who teaches at college and universities, by then I was teaching for a few years already about marketing and branding in the universities. And I said, what if I could turn this into a method because I can’t meet all these companies, I don’t have enough time. So maybe I could turn a methodology to a book. And that took me on a journey November 2021, I left everything flew to London for a month, I would run on the river Thames, and write and walk the streets and take notes and ideas, and started to work on a methodology that is today. F*ck The Slides. And it is the understanding that we use this buzzword storytelling. But it doesn’t mean anything we don’t understand how to actually do something. So this is how the book came to life.
Jeremy Weisz 13:15
What are some of the mistakes you’ve seen people make? And I saw that also your Tech Stars mentor? What are some of the mistakes, and we’re looking, if you’re listening the audio only you can see we are on Nir’s blog here. And he’s got a bunch of great information so you can check it out. Why is my pitch failing? It’s the slides. Shorter is better. What are you see some of the most common mistakes when people are telling their story?
Nir Zavaro 13:44
So let’s start with the idea. Are you actually a storyteller? Everything we do in life, the way we communicate is we convey story. What happened was people say, ah, I’m not a good storyteller. Now I have a business idea. I want to make the same I want to improve something. I want to convince my spouse to take a vacation. How do we tell the story? The problem is if we believe that we are not good at it. So you might not be the best storyteller. But guess what, I run five times a week and yet I will not win any marathon or any competition. But from the point where I started to train to now the improvement was exponential. People today go into a meeting and hope their prep for an hour two hours that have 10 slides and guess what there will be amazing it doesn’t work like that. We need to understand that soft-skill storytelling is not a soft skill. It is a must-skill. It is the thing you need to practice the most. And you need to understand that you will be improving exponentially if you decide to do it and in the book explained a few techniques that you can do once a day or once a week. The second thing we need to understand is we are treating our audience the wrong way. If I want you to sell me something, I don’t need you to give me all the information. I don’t need a 20-minute pitch. Now, when we meet startups and you say the demo day is three minutes, when they complain three minutes is not enough. I can’t do anything. I say, okay, great. Can you write a 500-word article? And an article is a full page. It’s a lot 500 points? And they say yes, 500 words is enough. Guess what? They’re almost the same. When we speak on this speed I’m speaking it’s about 130 140 150 words a minute. So there’s enough time, great. What happens is the three minutes I don’t need to sell, I only need to open the door. I only have to be interesting enough. And you know what that works really well in movies, you go to a movie, what do you see a trailer pitch, trailer and at the end of the trailer and say, wow, I love this genre. And I love that actor and actress. And that seems interesting. The video looks you know what I might go. I didn’t buy them purchase. I didn’t commit, I didn’t do anything. In fact, all I said is I’m interested, I want to know more. So what I’m teaching us how to create the trailer pitch, three minutes. Now, the three minutes are based on the way that you and I communicate, which is the emotions, the experience, the ability to fill the gaps when what I’m not saying. And I’ll explain that in a second. And only lastly, will we discuss the actual data, the actual information. And the reason is we communicate through emotions, which are universal. People around the world, on this planet are all the same. This is how we communicate, the ability to complete through the experiences and the gaps. That means that if I tell you, what’s your favorite restaurant, you can explain. So if I tell you, I went to my favorite restaurant, you know how your favorite restaurant looks like. So you’re there. And filling in the gap means I don’t need to tell you everything, you’re smart enough, you’ve had enough life experience to be able to fill the gap. Now, what’s interesting is if everything I’m saying now fits, and you need that, you will sell it to yourself. You will use everything I said and use the last piece the information to say hmm, it makes sense and $5,000 for this, it’s very good value. So, it’s very important that we understand that we are good storytellers, we also need to understand how to interact. In the book, then I will explain how to create how to measure the story. Because this is the most important KPIs for storytelling. If we cannot measure if the story is good, how can we keep improving, and that has three different things. And then we need to understand this is an ongoing work. The more I pitch, the more I practice, I’m gonna get better.
Jeremy Weisz 18:12
You’re mentioning some techniques to practice what was one of those as an example.
Nir Zavaro 18:19
So I think the one I like most is what we call intuitive writing, I don’t know if you’ve ever practiced that, but intuitive writing is what I teach in every workshop we do, for example. So pick a pen and paper, it’s very important not to do it on a laptop or desktop. Because the keyboard creates or uses a different type of phrases and take a pen and paper and you think about some anything. And you time yourself for three minutes. And you write now while writing, forget about everything. punctuations not relevant mistakes grammar doesn’t matter. No delete, no, nothing. Keep going. I might start by saying I don’t know what to write about today. Or I might focus on a problem with app. So now I need to do the marketing plan for the book launch. And I’ll say, okay, the marketing plan should start with this and keep going for three minutes. The beginning is hard because we’re not used to writing it. And that’s why we ask people to do it on for three minutes. But if you do it for five, and at the end, you read everything, you’d be amazed how many things would pop out. Hmm. And this is by the way when we are stuck, 8, 9pm We ordered food and we’re stuck with creative. The office will all do three minutes, and then brainstorm together what we found. And that will always help, about two minutes in what the magic is, you will start tapping into your subconscious. You stop thinking about what you’re writing will just flow